Things to Do in Kankakee, IL
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Kankakee, IL. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in Illinois are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
Kankakee is the only city in the world where you'll find two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes side-by-side. Both homes have been privately owned and off limits to tourists – until now.
Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed two Kankakee homes that were both constructed in 1900 – Hickox House and the B. Harley Bradley House. In 2012, both remain showplaces next door to each other on South Harrison Avenue in the Riverview Historic District.
Looking for a good reason to settle down in Kankakee County? The people who live here can give you a hundred. “I’m in love with this place. It’s everything we wanted it to be and more‚” says Susan Crisp‚ who moved to Kankakee County from Chattanooga‚ Tenn. in February 2007 to become the director of Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See in Manteno. Her husband‚ Jason Robertson‚ and four-year-old son‚ Gabriel‚ came with her.
There are plenty of busts of President Abraham Lincoln, but the ones created by master artist George Grey Barnard are considered among the best. You can see them in the Kankakee County Historical Museum. Barnard was an active artist between 1894 and 1936 and spent a portion of his early life in Kankakee. The museum also features the actual rustic boyhood home of Lennington Small – Illinois governor from 1921-1929. In addition, the museum features permanent exhibits, temporary galleries, display cases and photographs.
Kankakee County is eager to showcase arts and culture options to residents and visitors. Art galleries, big names in entertainment, theaters and a rich history make Kankakee County a great place to expand your artistic mind. Metro Centre Arts Gallery
The 142-year-old City Tavern in Kankakee is the most beautiful bar south of Chicago. Not only does the building retain its original woodwork and tin ceiling, but it also has a colorful history‚ having served as a brothel many years ago. The building can seat 400 people in both the downstairs and upstairs bar areas. The upstairs is designated non-smoking and has a separate air filtration system. This area is open on Friday and Saturday nights and for private parties and special events like Cinco de Mayo.
Kankakee County is home to some delicious Southern cooking, even though Kankakee is in the northern half of the United States. Three popular Southern-style restaurants in the county are Savannah’s Southern Bistro, Jimmy Jo’s BBQ, and Bulls Pit BBQ & 5 Star Wings.Savannah’s Southern BistroHere’s a salute to Savannah’s, which is owned by two National Guard officers. Frank Hayden and Mark Ray not only operate the restaurant but are soldiers who served in Iraq and are currently in the Illinois National Guard.
Mexico is a thousand miles from Kankakee County, but top Mexican restaurants are within close reach for area residents. In fact, spice is the variety of life at nearly a dozen Mexican restaurants thriving in Aroma Park, Bourbonnais, Bradley, Kankakee and Manteno. Among the newest eateries to join the taco, burrito and enchilada lineup is El Mexicano, which opened in December 2009 on Riverstone Parkway in Kankakee.
Residents will find a wide variety of recreation options in the Kankakee River Valley, ranging from biking, hiking and horseback riding to just relaxing as they watch the NFL's Chicago Bears train each summer at Olivet Nazarene University. Here are just a few fun things to do in the Kankakee River Valley:
For 80 years‚ boat racers and spectators have descended on Kankakee County for the Kankakee River Valley Regatta. The only trouble‚ organizers found‚ was the name. The race is not a genteel competition‚ with sailors navigating the waters powered only by Mother Nature’s fickle breeze. No‚ this race is about horsepower‚ and plenty of it. In 2006‚ event organizers changed the title to the Powerboat National Championships‚ alerting all that speeds must be measured by stopwatches‚ not sundials.
Whether stepping on the ice at the OAK Orthopedic Sports Arena or swimming at Splash Valley Aquatic Park‚ playing ball at a Kankakee Valley Parks' ball field or checking out Exploration Station children's museum, families find plenty of action in the Valley. OAK Orthopedic Sports Arena offers hockey and skating classes and leagues. It also houses the Kankakee Community College Fitness Center. Splash Valley Aquatic Park boasts three water slides, a four-lane lap pool‚ two zero-depth entry pools, plus picnic pavilions and a sand play area.
1. Have a water filled day splashing and water sliding at Splash Valley Aquatic Park. 2. Explore Kankakee County Museum for its many featured exhibits. 3. Become a race fan as the annual Kankakee Speedway brings on dirt track racing for your entertainment. 4. Get the family together to play with real farm animals, bike, roller blade and cross country ski at the Perry farm.
Other golf communities might be green with envy after seeing how many top courses are in Kankakee County. And several cities (and villages) are represented. For example, Momence is home to South Shore Golf Club, a demanding venue where water comes into play on seven holes. Its small greens are fast and undulating, and most are well bunkered. The village of Manteno is home to Manteno Golf Club, which features several elevated tees along with six water hazards that come into play. The popular club also offers discounts for juniors and seniors on weekdays.
Kankakee has a variety of shopping destinations to choose from. Below is a listing of some of the stores available here. Appliances